Protesters rallied outside of the Harrisonburg Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, office on Monday. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn was there.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in Harrisonburg is all but hidden in plain sight. Drivers along Neff Avenue probably wouldn’t notice it until they saw the barbed wire fences, but the office stood out Monday afternoon as protesters held up signs near the entrance calling to abolish the agency commonly known as ICE.
Among the couple dozen protesters were those whose families had past run-ins with the agency in the area, including 18 year old Harrisonburg resident Karina Vasquez.
VASQUEZ: I’ve experienced my nephew being torn apart from my brother and just going through that experience, it’s really devastating.
It was a silent demonstration, save for some testimonials and others banging pots and pans to draw attention to the office.
(Sound of pots and pans banging)
The protestors called for local elected officials to cut support to jails and detention centers targeting undocumented immigrants. Harrisonburg’s Boris Ozuna said it’s a message that should not be delivered comfortably.
OZUNA: We’re going to continue using compassionate shaming, because if you are not shamed, you don’t realize you’re doing something wrong.
While the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy has largely impacted immigrants at the border, the protest was meant to spread awareness about ICE’s presence closer to home.